tips of the pine

i don’t pray
i don’t think to pray
but when i saw this place
i said God, we need to talk

i know someday my flesh + bone will tire
it will sleep for years and years
until it turns to the soil to say
breathe me

when that day comes
and my soul stretches for the sun
wakes up the way my mother did,
the day after we were born
inhaling an air of freedom
we’ve never felt before

on that day, make me a bird

not just any bird
but a bird who lives here
where the waterfalls sound as familiar as
laughter by the sea shore
as forbidden as a mid-day whiskey pour
as quiet as Cuyama nightfall

make me a bird
so I can see the tips of the pine
whisper sweet nothings
whistle through the air
as useless to the humans
as the paintbrush to the handyman
the hammer to the artist
something meaningless.

i want to see the bead of sweat
resting lightly on the eyelid
of an El Capitan free climber
let me hear his breath
let me feel his quiver
let me be his air mate
something meaningful.

make me a bird
so I can see this place
through his eyes
so I can follow the two lovers
hand in hand
who are seeing it for the first time

i want to feel the heat of the sun
blanket the back of my tired wings
a warmth that feels like knowing
you’re exactly where you should be

i don’t pray
i don’t think to pray
but when I saw this place

make me a bird.

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